The Singer's Tale - back cover

The Singer’s Tale: the book

The Singer’s Tale has received 5 out of 5 star ratings on Amazon (22 reviews). Now the book is available direct from this site. To purchase please visit my shop.

Reader’s reviews on Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars

An excellent and compulsive read

9 January 2018

A remarkable book – excellent and compulsive read – with the odds heavily stacked against her, Carol’s determination to make it as a singer would make a great film if it could capture the underlying theme of changing times from an era that was almost recognisable as Victorian to the transformation that was rock’n’roll driven by the post-war generation and rise of multicultural Britain. Carol is a brilliant singer and having enjoyed her singing back in the early 70s with Uncle Dog, I would never have imagined the back story of her life at time when her performances oozed such confidence and she was rightly referred to as England’s Janice Joplin. When she sings the blues with such feeling it is because her life sprang from personal hardship, rejection and a gritty determination to overcome, which the blues and The Singer’s Tale richly evoke. Here’s hoping that Carol can share with us the rest of her story from the ‘80s to now.

5.0 out of 5 stars

A wonderful read, written with vivid detail

9 January 2018

A wonderful read, written with vivid detail, straight from the heart. She has had an extraordinary life being born in London at the end of the 2nd. World War and going on, despite all the odds stacked against her, to become a professional singer working across the globe. Her writing engrosses you and is enlightening about the struggles of a girl growing up in post war Britain going on to become a renowned singer and, just as importantly for her, a mother. You feel almost a part of her personal struggles and joys – the different voices showing her insight, tenacity and humanity. She weaves a wonderful tale, and the book shows her talent as both a writer as well as a singer. An amazing journey!

5.0 out of 5 stars

Looking Back with her Eyes Wide Open

24 January 2018

Anyone who’s ever witnessed Carol Grimes in concert will testify to the fact she possesses a raw emotional power, tempered with the shading of experience and the passing of time. Those lucky enough to have heard her simple yet devastating renditions of Fran Landesman’s “Scars”, or Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy” resonating in packed rooms, or jazz stages, will want to read her back story, to find out more.

And now, not before time, Grimes has finally produced her autobiography. Titled “The Singer’s Tale” (after Chaucer) it is a wild, candid, sometimes unsparing journey. At times wise-after-the-event and other times laugh-out-loud funny (the Kafkaesque trials of reclaiming a pension once you’ve had several surnames) ~ Carol Grimes is a vivid character one instinctively warms to in the intimacy of these pages. A childhood adrift amongst ration books and bomb-damaged London ~ a quest for identity when significant family members are but faint sketches, old sepia photographs ~ eventually finding her voice and her way.

The early albums, musical travels to Memphis and Nashville ~ the firm belief that singing for her supper was the only way forward ~ even with its accompanying pitfalls, safety nets and occasional tragedies. The competing voices in her head, all given free rein here ~ constructing a complex persona ~ sometimes vulnerable, sometimes wayward; always human. I warmly recommend “The Singer’s Tale” if you want to eavesdrop on the REAL story of women making music in the sixties and seventies ~ the deals, the dodgy managers (“We can market you as a British Janis Joplin…”) ~ the highs, the lows, the hangers-on, the true friends ~ above all the music, the vital spark of humanity. Buy this book.

5.0 out of 5 stars

A fabulous, heart-felt moving read

8 January 2018

This is a fabulous book. I bought it as I love Carol’s singing, but you don’t need to know her music to appreciate this book. This is so much more than your average music biog. It paints a vivid tale of growing up in post-World War Two Britain, then moves through an extraordinary life to becoming the acclaimed singer that she is.

5.0 out of 5 stars

Fascinating Story

30 October 2019

I have not yet finished reading ” The Singer’s Tale” but am finding it fascinating. Carol Grimes’ recall of the details of her childhood is extraordinary. A very enjoyable read.

5.0 out of 5 stars

An extraordinary Singer’s extraordinary Tale.

3 March 2018

This is a terrific book. The style is poetic and the phrasing sustained like a singer’s breath. I was completely drawn in and unable to put it down! Carol Grimes has had an extraordinary life and has an amazing tale to tell. I thoroughly recommend it.

5.0 out of 5 stars

Difficult to put down!

27 October 2019

Gripping insight into social history from the 50’s onwards and the fascinating story of one woman’s struggle to make it in the male dominated world of jazz.

5.0 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully & uniquely written- a must read!

14 February 2018

What an incredible book!
So cleverly and vividly written, not only about Carol Grimes’ life & career, but also the story of London from the war years in the 40’s through to the hippy & punk years to the 80’s. Could not put this book down. Absolutely fascinating.

5.0 out of 5 stars

19 September 2018

Excellent all good and arrived promptly Helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars

I love this book

21 February 2018

I love this book. So vivid – she brings everything to life so well. Also so exciting- is she going to make it as a singer or has she missed the boat?
Thank goodness, she did make it and she is wonderful.

5.0 out of 5 stars

Fascinating memoirs of a stalwart of the London music scene

9 February 2018

This is an excellent read for any music fan. Carol’s a terrific singer and her story so interesting. Well illustrated too.

5.0 out of 5 stars

More than one life! A must read.

24 January 2018

The detail, the grit, the hardship, the survival, the sweet aroma, the living by voice and sound. I couldn’t stand when this experience ended. Read the book for goodness sake!

5.0 out of 5 stars

read it

26 January 2018

great read

5.0 out of 5 stars

Fantastic! A must read!!

13 March 2018

I love this book! It’s an honest, moving, vivid read…..looking forward to volume two.

5.0 out of 5 stars

This is such a beautiful book. It flows through time seamlessly with 3D …

3 January 2018

This is such a beautiful book. It flows through time seamlessly with 3D perspective of an internal monologue. It is beautifully written and gripping.2 people found this helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars

The Singers Tale takes the reader from a time of greyness to a time of great colour, the 1960s’ and beyond

16 February 2018

Carol Grimes transfers the reader into a time capsule of post WW2 England. She is stranded in the reality of broken and shattered London, where to say the least, life is challenging. The Singers Tale takes the reader from a time of greyness to a time of great colour , the 1960s’ and beyond. It was during this period of great hedonistic behaviour she came across and played with many of the iconic musicians and their managers who we know so well. A gripping read about who she met and how she struggled with life as a single mum. Chaucer would have been proud and hopefully there is a part 2 coming ?

5.0 out of 5 stars

Raw soul, Warm blood, London grime and laughter

27 February 2018

I am a lifelong fan of Carol Grimes’ music so I couldn’t wait to read her story, and what a story it is. It reads like a fast paced novel that could have been written by someone like Kate Atkinson but is all the more poignant for being entirely true. She writes brilliantly, straight from the heart, with a raw, warts and all honesty tinged with irrepressible humour. The book hauntingly evokes past London, especially the Ladbroke Grove area of the 1960s and 70s, a crucial moment in Britain’s social and cultural history. As warm-blooded as her singing. I can’t wait for the next instalment!

5.0 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully & uniquely written- a must read!

14 February 2018

What an incredible book!
So cleverly and vividly written, not only about Carol Grimes’ life & career, but also the story of London from the war years in the 40’s through to the hippy & punk years to the 80’s. Could not put this book down. Absolutely fascinating.

5.0 out of 5 stars

19 September 2018

Excellent all good and arrived promptly

5.0 out of 5 stars

I love this book

21 February 2018

I love this book. So vivid – she brings everything to life so well. Also so exciting- is she going to make it as a singer or has she missed the boat?
Thank goodness, she did make it and she is wonderful.

5.0 out of 5 stars

Fascinating memoirs of a stalwart of the London music scene

9 February 2018

This is an excellent read for any music fan. Carol’s a terrific singer and her story so interesting. Well illustrated too.

5.0 out of 5 stars

More than one life! A must read.

24 January 2018

The detail, the grit, the hardship, the survival, the sweet aroma, the living by voice and sound. I couldn’t stand when this experience ended. Read the book for goodness sake!

5.0 out of 5 stars

read it

26 January 2018

great read

5.0 out of 5 stars

Fantastic! A must read!!

13 March 2018

I love this book! It’s an honest, moving, vivid read…..looking forward to volume two.

5.0 out of 5 stars

3 January 2018

This is such a beautiful book. It flows through time seamlessly with 3D perspective of an internal monologue. It is beautifully written and gripping.2

5.0 out of 5 stars

The Singers Tale takes the reader from a time of greyness to a time of great colour, the 1960s’ and beyond

16 February 2018

Carol Grimes transfers the reader into a time capsule of post WW2 England. She is stranded in the reality of broken and shattered London, where to say the least, life is challenging. The Singers Tale takes the reader from a time of greyness to a time of great colour , the 1960s’ and beyond. It was during this period of great hedonistic behaviour she came across and played with many of the iconic musicians and their managers who we know so well. A gripping read about who she met and how she struggled with life as a single mum. Chaucer would have been proud and hopefully there is a part 2 coming ?

5.0 out of 5 stars

Raw soul, Warm blood, London grime and laughter

27 February 2018

I am a lifelong fan of Carol Grimes’ music so I couldn’t wait to read her story, and what a story it is. It reads like a fast paced novel that could have been written by someone like Kate Atkinson but is all the more poignant for being entirely true. She writes brilliantly, straight from the heart, with a raw, warts and all honesty tinged with irrepressible humour. The book hauntingly evokes past London, especially the Ladbroke Grove area of the 1960s and 70s, a crucial moment in Britain’s social and cultural history. As warm-blooded as her singing. I can’t wait for the next instalment!


5.0 out of 5 stars

Great Autobiography

20 July 2019

I knew Carol many years ago and always admired her not only for her voice, which is fantastic, but her way of life too. I never realised what a troubled childhood she had so I suspect writing about it in her autobiography was a sort of catharsis for her. She was passed from foster homes to childrens homes and back again becuase her Mother simply didn’t want her. Even when Carol tried to return to her mother’s home many years later the door was very firmly closed in her face. The descriptions laid out in the book bring the places she led a sort of life – more of an existence really – alive in not the most pleasant of ways. So the reader can visualise what these places were like back in the fifties and try to understand how Carol as well as many other children like her learnt to survive.

Music became Carol’s saviour as she grew into the talented woman she is today so, when she and others around her realised she could sing it brought new meaning to her life. As the tale unfolded it was good to ‘meet’ friends of mine from the old days in London during the late sixties and seventies particularly ‘Beat’ who was firstly my neighbour and then my friend for many years. It was through Beat that I met Carol when we went to her gigs. I always thought she was far too good to be performing in local pubs and clubs so wished I was back in my young journalistic days in Birmingham when I interviewed then wrote about up and coming performers. Sadly, Carol’s singing career was never destined to rise to the giddy heights that were so richly deserved due to deals and bands falling by the wayside with alarming regularity.

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